Mar 13, 2014

Ed Sullivan Show’s Autographed ‘Beatles Set’ Section to be Auctioned

On April 26, 2014, a two-foot-by-four-foot section of backdrop from the Ed Sullivan Show’s studio 50 stage set of Feb. 9 1964 will be auctioned by Heritage Auctions. It is perhaps one of the most famous sets in television history, as it was seen by 73 million Americans on that date in 1964.

The set was used as a backdrop for The Beatles first live television performance in America. In between songs, all four of The Beatles autographed and drew doodles on the set section. The piece, made of plastic and professionally mounted in a shadow-box frame, is expected to bring $800,000 to $1 million at auction.

That the set section even exists is remarkable. Typically, such sets are made for short-term use and then discarded. But an observant carpenter cut out the section encompassing the autographs and gave it to a disabled teenager with whom he was acquainted. Had The Beatles not erupted onto the American music scene a few months earlier, I’’s unlikely that the carpenter would have been inspired to cut out the section of wall. After all, Sullivan had “big stars” on his show every week, and sets for those stars ended up in the trash bin.

In the 1980s, the piece was sold by the former teen to Rodney Cary, owner of the Southdown Lounge in Baton Rouge, La., who displayed the piece on a wall inside his lounge. Sometime later Cary’s wife Laurie took the piece to a Beatles memorabilia show in Los Angeles, where she was offered six figures for it by interested buyers. Surprised at its value, the Carys took the piece back to Louisiana and placed it in a vault for safekeeping. In 2002, it was purchased for $100,000 by collector Andy Geller. It is Mr. Geller who is offering the piece at auction. Read More...

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